The New England Patriots always find a diamond in the rough players in the later rounds of the NFL Draft. Although the punter position is not flashy or entertaining, the Patriots may have solved their punting problem in the draft this year. The Patriots selected Michigan State punter Bryce Baringer with the 192nd pick, and he is showing flashes of brilliance in the preseason.
With the punting woes the Patriots have had in the last few seasons, this draft pick could end up being huge for Bill Belichick. Patriots fans should be excited because having a great punter is key to winning the special team's battle.
In 2022, the Patriots were one of the worst punting teams in the NFL and it cost them dearly. When Jake Bailey, a former All-Pro struggled, the Patriots were forced to go in a different direction at the position. The Patriots turned to Michael Palardy, who was one of the worst punters in the NFL. Ultimately, the Patriots finished with the worst punting average in the NFL.
Flash forward to 2023, and the Patriots have Baringer, who is showing promise in the preseason. On Saturday against the Green Bay Packers, Baringer had two impressive punts that traveled 120 yards. His second punt traveled an absurd 70 air yards. Baringer’s strong leg is going to be useful for the Patriots and their defense this season.
Baringer’s leg will allow the Patriots to win the field position battle this season and pin teams in their own endzone. As a result, the Patriot's defense will benefit, and it could help them be a top-five unit this season. Belichick loves his special teams, so Baringer will be a delight for him and his defense this season.
Ultimately, it will be interesting to see how great of a rookie season Baringer has.